Kenney seeks to analyze rock salt usage in snow plowing

Road salt is loaded into a snow plow truck equipped with a salt spreader on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

Councilman Jim Kenney is trying to avoid rubbing salt in the wounds of those who put their feet to the pavement on snowy days. And that includes friends of the four-legged variety.

Kenney introduced a resolution today that asks the streets and services committee to hold public hearings to investigate the uses of “rock salt,” commonly used to melt ice and snow in the wintertime.

He says the practice of using the rock salt compound has detrimental effects on the environment, on young people and on pets whose paws can become irritated by the mixture.

“What I’ve seen in the city this snow season is just the dumping of salt all over the place, regardless of how much we really need to breakdown the snow,” said Kenney.

“I’ve talked to people from cities where they have a lot of snow. They don’t usually lay the rock salt down until snow has started to fall. In Philadelphia, we’ve started to lay it down a day before the snow even starts. I just want to look at what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and whether we can be more environmentally friendly, more pet-friendly and more little-kid friendly when it comes to the melting of our big snow this winter.”

While it’s unclear what costs would be associated with using an alternative melting solution, Kenney said research his staff has done shows too much rock salt ingested can cause liver and pancreatic failures in animals.